With little notice, Colorado took a huge step this month toward becoming a refuge for undocumented immigrants.

Driving the news: Legal U.S. residency is no longer required to obtain state and local government benefits, professional licenses or business permits under a law that took effect July 1.

  • The 2021 law signed by Gov. Jared Polis makes available state benefits, including dental care, mental health counseling and family services. It also expands eligibility for property tax, rent and utility subsidies.
  • The estimated cost for expanding eligibility to immigrants is $12 million a year, according to a legislative analysis.

What to watch: The city of Denver announced that it would no longer verify legal residency when issuing business licenses and is now accepting more forms of identification.

Yes, but: The Polis administration and local leaders appear reluctant to follow the city’s lead, Axios Denver has learned.

  • The governor’s spokesman, Conor Cahill, told us the law didn’t require the benefits to be available by July 1. He didn’t say when — or even if — the administration would expand eligibility.
  • Likewise, the Colorado Municipal League and Colorado Counties association could not identify any other local governments opening benefit programs.



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